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Home » Severe storms damage shelters of 16,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan

Severe storms damage shelters of 16,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan

Severe storms damage shelters of 16,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

More than 16,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan’s eastern refugee settlements of Um Rakuba and Tunaydbah have been impacted after several weeks of storms razed tents, swept away their belongings, and destroyed infrastructure.

Nearly 4,000 out of 10,000 individual family tents have been damaged by strong winds, heavy rains, and hailstorms. Emergency latrines and other facilities have also been destroyed.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and its partners are in a race against time and nature to repair and reinforce shelters and ensure that affected families have access to clean water and safe latrines with storms expected to intensify further during the rainy season, which continues from June to October.

We are replacing blankets and sleeping mats and replenishing food supplies. Distributions of 2,500 emergency shelter kits – ropes, wooden poles, and bamboo sticks – are underway to help those most impacted to reinforce their tents. A total of 10,000 emergency shelters kits are planned for distribution with an additional 5,000 in reserve.

UNHCR and partners are currently finalizing construction and rehabilitation of some 60 kilometres of roads to both Um Rakuba and Tunaydbah, which is critical to ensure access to the camps as well as to about 15 host community villages throughout the rainy season. We are also digging drainage systems in the two sites to mitigate the risks of further flooding. Partners are constructing semi-permanent schools, as well as permanent latrines and showers. However, accelerating the work is challenging because of continuing storms.

More permanent shelters called tukuls – small round huts made from mud bricks and thatch, typical of the region – are planned.